Injury Bug Continues To Bite The Florida Panthers

During last season’s 82 game schedule the Florida Panthers lost over 320 man games to injury en route to their first ever division championship.  Fortunately it was the depth of the organization and the play of the entire team behind the coaching of Kevin Dineen, that  allowed Panthers to overcome the constant and lenghty trips to the injured list.  Scottie Upshall, Dmitry Kulikov, Sean Bergenheim, and Marcel Goc were among the players that missed significant time, with many others having spent time injured as well.  Collectively the Florida Panthers were able to hold their own as the leaders of their division.

This year, the trend seems to be continuing, however with vastly different results.  Scottie Upshall who missed 56 games last season will be out approximately a month with an ankle injury.  Sean Bergenheim was hurt playing in Europe, and there’s no timetable for his return.  Captain Ed Jovanovski has been out of action since taking a knee on knee hit from Tampa’s BJ Crombeen on January 29th.  Jovo is expected to be out another two weeks, although he did skate with the team at practice on Friday.  He is expected to miss an additional two weeks.

Adding to that list, Kris Versteeg, last season’s spark plug hasn’t been healthy from the beginning of the season, and is now day to day after taking a hit from behind by Alex Ovechkin.  Versteeg missed Thursday night’s game against Montreal, and is expected to miss Saturday’s game against Tampa.  Lastly, Stephen Weiss who has been a ghost of himself is apparently nursing a groin injury, which might explain his somewhat lackluster play. 

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Does Peter Mueller Have a Future With The Panthers?

In the roller coaster ride that has been the Panthers’ 2013 season up until this point, there have been a few players steadily contributing on a team filled with question marks. However, during most games this season, forward Peter Mueller has been a bright spot of stellar play – even during some of the Panthers’ worst games.

After being selected 8th overall during the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Mueller’s career has been anything but spectacular as the promising young skater has had to battle an abundance of concussion-related problems since joining the NHL. During the 2010 season, a dirty hit from the San Jose Sharks’ Rob Blake sent Mueller to the ice, and set off a chain of events that would keep him from playing steady hockey up until this season. Since that first concussion, Mueller has been unable to play more than 32 games during a single NHL season and has been labeled as a possible liability due to his health concerns.

However, during the 2012 offseason the Florida Panthers decided to take a low-risk chance on the once promising young skater when they signed Mueller to a 1-year 1.725 million dollar contract – an investment that is paying off in spades. Through 12 games this season, Mueller currently has the 4th most points on the Panthers’ roster, compiling 7 points (4G 3A) thus far.

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Panthers Fall To Habs For Second Straight OT Loss

Tuesday night, the Florida Panthers scored five goals….and lost in overtime. Thursday night, the same Panthers squad only gave up one goal….and lost in overtime. Rene Bourque’s tip in 2:10 into overtime wasA all the visiting Montreal Canadiens would need as they downed the Cats 1-0.
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